Mompreneurs host Nancy Redd invites mega entrepreneur Dr. Rashae Barnes to the studio for a conversation on how she built her multi-business empire. Dr. Barnes is an educator, publicist, owner of a spice brand, investor, and events space owner. Here, the two talk about how she went from teacher to business mogul.

 

A Pregnancy And A Pivot

Dr. Barnes has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which she says she got in part from watching some of her family members. Her mom always had side hustles, and her cousin – Detroit Pistons player Richard Hamilton – spun his career into several business deals. So in college, when her classmates were partying it up on the weekends, Dr. Barnes (not yet a doctor at that time) started a cupcake business and was raking in the cash. Everything was set for her to become a teacher – and possibly successful cupcake business owner – when Dr. Barnes discovered she was pregnant. She was in school in Virginia at the time, but moved home to Philadelphia to have her child.

At the same time Dr. Barnes was waiting for the birth of her baby, she was offered a lucrative teaching position. However, she turned it down. She knew in her gut that it was time to turn it up on her side hustles if she was going to build something great. “I wasn’t afraid to fail and I wasn’t afraid to be uncomfortable,” says Dr. Barnes.

Dr. Barnes’ first product-based business was Expensive Taste, a spice blend company. It all started because Dr. Barnes loves to cook, but was frustrated by the fact that she needed to combine sometimes 12 or 13 different spices to get a flavor. So, she created her line, which offers gourmet spice blends. The company has since expanded into offering detox items such as apple cider vinegar gummies and a detox tea, and they’re proud to be sold on Walmart.com.

A spice blend company is not where Dr. Barnes’ business empire ends. She also has a media group (in 2021 she produced virtual listening events for Ye formerly known as Kanye West), an investment firm focusing on minority- and women-owned companies called Evals Equity, and an event space. One might think she’s left education in the past, but Dr. Barnes says she still hopes to start a chain of charter schools one day. And that is all tied to one of Barnes’ business philosophies: let your day job fund your dreams.

 

A Mogul’s Mindset

At this point, Dr. Barnes is lucky to say that her day job(s) are her dreams, but she hopes to use the money from those businesses to open schools, as education is something she’ll always be passionate about. And to aspiring entrepreneurs still clocking in for a “regular” job, she advises shifting their perspective on that job. Once you see the money you make from your day job as the funds for your company, your mindset shifts and you approach that day job with renewed energy. “Everything goes back to mindset,” says Dr. Barnes.

That shift in mindset applies to women who face unexpected pregnancy amidst building a business, too. That is exactly what happened to Dr. Barnes. And what could have been seen as a road bump, Dr. Barnes now sees as the reason she’s successful. Creating a world that shows her daughter that she can be anything she wants to be is so important to Dr. Barnes.

Another top focus for Dr. Barnes is community and giving back. That’s why she started her investment group Evals Equity – the slogan for which is “Where oppression meets opportunity.” “Evals is slave written backward,” explains Dr. Barnes. This was intentional because her ancestors in slavery did not have the opportunity she does today – only oppression. So lifting up marginalized groups with this firm is very meaningful to Dr. Barnes.

 

Dr. Rashae Barnes’ Top Tips For Mompreneurs

Dr. Barnes has a few philosophies and routines that have kept her going and kept her leveling up. They include:

  • Look at top 3 lucrative skills. She suggests writing down three things you are already doing, that you could be getting paid for.
  • Do a Swot Analysis. Swot stands for “Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.” She says mompreneurs should write down their lists of each of these, and then find an endeavor in which the opportunities outweigh the threats and the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.
  • Get a mentor. Barnes admits she herself did not have a mentor because there weren’t many Black women in the spices space when she got started. But she sees how powerful that could have been for her, and hopes to be that mentor to others today.
  • Do your research. Barnes is huge on research. Know your industry. Understand what need you’re addressing and why it matters. (For example, she started her spice company because she knew Black people faced specific health issues that required healthier seasoning options).

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